Can Schools Teach Entrepreneurship?

October 20th, 2014 No Comments   Posted in Business, General Finance

The answer, according to Top Colleges Online, is both yes and no. Over the past decade, colleges have begun to offer bespoke courses in entrepreneurship, including Babson College, MA, and Syracuse University, NY, and yet the average age of a first-time entrepreneur is, in fact, 40 years of age.

Could structured college courses, taught by entrepreneurs, provide today’s young people with the skills to launch startups earlier and more successfully? Or is the view to and talent for entrepreneurship something more personal and less tangible?

Take a look at the infographic below and judge for yourself.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Entrepreneurship

World’s Most Bizzarre Financial Disaster

October 18th, 2014 No Comments   Posted in General Finance

Zimbabwe Gives Up on Its Own Currency

You know what currency they use in Zimbabwe? Any currency that doesn’t come from Zimbabwe. As of now, the only kind of currency used there comes from other countries.

That’s thanks to Zimbabwe’s world-record breaking inflation, which in November 2008 peaked at around – wait for it – 79,600,000,000%. And chances are that number’s a bit too low. Because at some point between ’08 – ’09, the Zimbabwean government just gave up tracking it.

In 2008, pay in Zimbabwe was measured in trillions of dollars – which isn’t as awesome as it sounds. Their average teacher’s pay at the time converted to about SGD 1.40 per month.

Computers in banks froze up, because there were too many zeroes to handle. Digital displays were rendered useless, because imagine if the pump at the petrol station had to display $400 trillion.

Their central bank got so fed up, they decided to just slash 10 zeroes off all the currency notes – a method we’re pretty sure is featured in no macroeconomics textbook ever.

How did iy happen? Well there are plenty of causes, but most fingers point at the Democratic Republic of Congo. Zimbabwe financed two wars there, and started printing money to pay for the soldier and equipment.

On top of that, the country was afflicted with wide scale corruption. We’re talking banks that would be thrown out of a time share salesmen’s convention for being too unethical.

But hey, they’re bound to recover. By doing things like spending USD 16,000,000+ on Mugabe’s birthday, giant statues of him, and his daughter’s wedding.

UK Hires PIs to rack down $50mn in non-resident grad debts

October 16th, 2014 No Comments   Posted in Debt, General Finance

With thousands of EU graduates studying in the UK failing to repay their tuition loans – costing UK taxpayers over £50 million in five years – the government-owned Student Loan Company has hired private investigators to track down borrowers.

Officials warned they are ready to take the graduates to court if they do not repay the loans.

“With British students paying more in tuition than ever before, many people will not understand how it is possible that foreign students from the EU are able to turn up to the UK, run up taxpayer-backed debts and then leave. Many of these students will never contribute a penny in income tax to the UK and will be incredibly expensive to track down,” Tory MP Andrew Percy told the Independent.

UK graduates owe a staggering £28 million in college loan debt. In the past five years, the SLC has paid out over £117 million to the EU students. However, the figures revealed that by last year, repayments on £52 million of those loans were either cut short or had never even started.

The total owed by non-paying foreign borrowers stands at £41.3 million; those believed to be in arrears owe £9.1 million; those thought to be overseas and ‘fallen into arrears’ have borrowed £1.6 million.

According to the figures, students from Cyprus were the most in the red, having borrowed £24 million and paying back only £15.5 million. Graduates from France, Germany and Poland racked up debts totaling over £10 million. Irish graduates owe the SLC £3.7 million, and Greek ones owe £4.3 million.

According to some MPs, strict controls should have been placed on the students to avoid this situation.

Labour MP Frank Field recently promised to order the National Audit Office to further investigate how overseas students are being monitored after leaving UK universities and the country.

“The situation has turned into a grants system for many EU students,” Field told the newspaper.

Despite official warnings that up to one in four will never repay a penny, the SLC has been challenged with tracking down EU graduates and get them repay their debts.

The SLC, set up 24 years ago to provide loans and grants to students studying in the UK, has recently introduced a new system aimed at tightening controls on repayment rates. Now, as soon as the organization is informed that an EU student will be leaving the UK, graduates are required to complete an overseas assessment form. Those who fail to respond within two weeks are issued a fixed loan repayment schedule. If they do not stick to it, they fall into the category of being in arrears, and become subject to “collections processes.”

Whole of Argentina Runs Out of Spare Change

October 14th, 2014 No Comments   Posted in General Finance

Imagine if your 50 cent coin is worth a dollar. Or if loose change is so rare, shopkeepers  refuse to sell you a $1.90 pack of crackers if you don’t have exact change; because the 10 cents is too invaluable to give up for small transactions.

That’s exactly what happened in Argentina around ’09. No one is entirely certain of how all the country’s loose change just…up and vanished. Short of witchcraft and aliens, the most viable ones are:

  • Faceless coin hoarders, driving up the value of coins by taking them out of circulation, thus emulating the sort of criminal ploy usually only found in Scooby Doo episodes
  • The rising price of metal. Because at some point, it would have been more valuable to melt the coins and sell the metal than to keep them.
  • Buses that only take coins. Which is kind of a dumb explanation, unless the bus companies are the aforementioned faceless coin hoarders.

But wait. The simplest explanation is the Argentinian government. They didn’t mint enough coins, right?

Actually in 2008, they minted  over 500 million new coins. The only place you’ll find more metal is in Lil’ Wayne’s teeth. And yet over the next three years or so, the shortage was so severe people substituted small gifts, like candy, in place of their precious change.

New Graduate Guide to Personal Finance

October 12th, 2014 No Comments   Posted in General Finance

Student Study Loan

5 Ways To Quickly Pay Off Student Loan Debt

October 10th, 2014 No Comments   Posted in Debt

There are loads of ways to deal with paying off your student debt. Some prefer the long game:paying as little as you can each month in order to maintain your lifestyle. But for those who are just too bugged by being in debt and are willing to undergo a massive (but temporary!) lifestyle shift in order to have done with student debt once and for all, following this guide is the way to do it.

1. Super Restrict Your Spending

Most of us have a necessity budget and a luxury budget, but for the extremist debt warriors out there: throw out your luxury budget! Your new luxuries are free luxuries. That means no more going to the movies or eating out or buying new clothes that you don’t need for work. Instead, relax by going for hikes, finding free concerts and shows to check out, getting into cooking at home and maybe even growing your own veggies. Dating-wise, try a romantic picnic at sunset instead of a fancy restaurant.

2. Sell Your Stuff

Can you sell your car and get around by bike and public transportation? That will not only get you a chunk of cash to put towards your loan principal, but will save you gas money and insurance payments. If you’re not in a position to sell your car, consider trading in for a car that you can learn to do your own repairs on, like the Ford AX4S. Conversely, if you’re already a cyclist, do you have more than one bike? If so, sell your nice road bike and hang on to the commuter: on top of the excess cash, taking on big hills on a heavier bike is guaranteed to make you 30% more rugged. Sell any appliances you can live without, like your microwave or trading in your nice speakers for a junkier pair.

3. Knock Out Your Private Student Loans Before Federal

Interest rates on private student loans are way higher than on federal ones. So all that extra cash you’ve just saved/generated should go directly towards your private student loans before you dig in on your federal loans.

4. Get Housemates

Okay, so giving up your privacy is no picnic, but remember: it’s only temporary. You’re taking the fast and furious approach here so the more people you can pack into your house or apartment, the better. The best part is that it’s such an easy way to save cash: you aren’t sacrificing any of your time, which really is the most valuable thing any of us has. Depending on where you live you could end up paying as little as $150 to $200 per month in rent. Another option is to move back in with your parents for a while.

5. Leave Retirement Accounts Intact

This may seem like a good idea, but you’ll end up losing close to half of the amount you withdraw in early withdrawal fees and taxes, so it just isn’t worth it. It also doesn’t make financial sense to stop contributing to your 401(k) IF your employer is matching the amount you put in: stopping your contributions will just be throwing that extra cash away.